Jan 8, 2010

McWane saves us again

Would you like to know how much I love you? So much that I actually uploaded 55 photos for this post. [SCREEEEECH!] Oh, wait. Maybe it would be a better measure of how much YOU love ME for you make it all the way through this post. But seriously. It took slightly more than six minutes to upload all these pictures to Blogger.

(And those of you who blog on Blogger know how long that really means. COMMITTED TO YOU. My new tagline.)

Soooo, last Sunday was a cold, cold day here in Birmingham ... and we were happy to use our annual membership to the McWane Center to pass the afternoon indoors, cozy, warm and entertained.

I am now going to attempt to walk you through it. If I can keep it to one sentence of text per picture, I'll try. But you know me. Brevity isn't exactly my strong suit. Actually, it might be a fun challenge to try to Tweet my way through this post. No more than 140 characters per picture.



One of the main reasons we wanted to go to McWane was to see the new touch tank.

Sharks! (Bonnetheads, not hammerheads ... although they look similar.)

Rays! They swam right up to us and we were able to touch them in the shallow water.

The World of Water is on the lowest level of McWane. It houses several separate aquarium tanks full of shiny fish.

In addition to fish, they have a tank with jellyfish and a set of lights that glow in pretty neon colors.

My favorite tank houses lots of larger fish and a giant green eel.

See him? He's hiding in that center piece of coral.

He's about six or eight feet long, but today he didn't come out.

I'm sort of glad ... although I like him because he's different, he's also a little creepy.

This is another one of my favorite tanks because of the beautiful tropical colors.

After we finished up in the World of Water, we split up for a while. I took Jake to "Just Mice Size," an area for kids Kindergarten and younger.

He loved playing in the water exhibit while the big boys explored more complex things with Grayson.

After about 45 minutes, Jake and I went looking for them and found them on the main level flying a model plane.

It's lifted by a powerful fan underneath it, and you steer the controls to make it stay aloft.

A traveling exhibit that was there over the last month was the model train exhibit. Here are some local men carving a new set.

I chatted with them for a while. They start by carving this foam and eventually cover it with binding material and other decorative elements.

They are very proud of their ability to build pieces from scratch, as well as to modify kits like this one. This one started out as a Victorian house ...

But they needed a City Hall, so they used part of the Victorian house kit and then improvised ... like with the tiny wooden bowl they used for the top.

The train sets were very elaborate and entertaining.

The train ran really fast around this one, and it was very detailed.

This was my favorite ... it had an almost Hogwart's-looking structure on top.

After I finished chatting with the train builders, I found the boys dancing on the giant piano keys.

Then Jakey tried out the giant Lite-Brite.

Someone had left a smiley face behind for him.

Next up was a visit to the sand wheel area, where you drop sand on a potter's wheel and make designs in it.

Here's Nathaniel applying sand to the wheel ...

And then using a large emery-board-type thing to make patterns in it as it spun.

Nick tried his hand at it, too.

Adjacent to the sand wheel exhibit was a bike you could ride. It had something to do with dinosaurs but GUESS WHAT. I WAS THERE.

So the exhibit immediately developed its version of the Blue Screen of Death, and we couldn't do anything with it. Maybe next time, or after I die.

DinoLand is a fun place. They have this neat "archaeology dig" area that's outfitted with chopped rubber in tiny pieces the color of sand.

I love it because it brushes right off of clothes and pops right out of shoes and hair.

God really ought to rethink real sand. This stuff would make a great replacement.

Nick got serious with the goggles and the little brush.

After The Big Dig, Nick auditioned as a meterologist in front of the green screen. (Stiff competition from the weather girl in pink.)

While he was "on the air," we could watch him on the monitor.

He was all manner of cute, forecasting the large "huwwicane" that was "definitely on its way to Alabama."

While he was in a Weather Frame of Mind, he trotted over to the tornado simulator. This exhibit always reminds me of the Cone of Silence.

One of the last things we did before heading home was stop at the moving pegs exhibit. You push on one side and they come out the other side in formation.

Jakey pushed.

Nathaniel pushed back.

My three sons.

Someone went twice. I think it was Nick.

The two big boys went again. (I don't know why I love this, but I do.)

Then things really started to get out of hand.

So we moved on to the last but certainly not least of the fun ... the hurricane-force winds simulator!

You get in and the door seals shut. It starts with a breeze and goes up to 48.8 miles per hour ...

To 78.7 miles per hour ... which as you can see is perfectly THRILLING.

And all the way over 100 miles per hour, but I think their weight limited them from getting that high.

And THIS is how much I REALLY love you: I didn't upload the six VIDEOS that I took at McWane. (You're welcome.)


Sewconsult said...

Such a fun day. DH is a model railroader. He is part of a group building a massive layout near us in the Nashville area. I sew, he does trains...kept us happy for 37+ yrs.

Sarah T. said...

That looks like a really fun place. Better than the one in Atlanta, for sure!

HandyFamily said...

Looks like y'all had a great time! It looks like a great place to visit.

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